Asthma, with its resultant wheezing and shortness of breath, is a disturbing condition. At worst it can be fatal, so asthma attacks should be taken extremely seriously, with sufferers and their family doing everything possible to reduce the incidence of these frightening attacks.

Adult on-set asthma is often caused by environmental or dietary factors, so when seeking asthma relief it's important first of all to address these factors in your life style.

The most common food allergens to avoid are: eggs, wheat, dairy products (including yoghurt), yeast, fish and citrus. Others thought to be implicated include: corn, peanuts, carrots, prawns, colas, red meat (especially pork), salt, spinach, chicken, turkey, sunflower seeds, soya products, yeast, goat's milk, kidney beans, sugar, blackcurrants and food additives – particularly tartrazine (E102), benzoates (E210-219) and metabisulphite (E220-227).

Common environmental triggers include animal dander (minute scales shed from an animal's skin, hair or feathers), chemicals, drugs, house-dust mite, goose feathers, fumes, mold, grasses, pollen, tobacco smoke or environmental pollution such as fumes from paint , adhesives, industrial or dry cleaning chemicals.

Other triggers to avoid include: adrenal disorders, anxiety, changes in temperature or weather, excessive exercise, extremes of dryness or humidity, low blood sugar, emotional stress such as fear, and – oddly enough, even laughing in some sufferers,

Dietary Recommendations: Identify and avoid food allergens, see list above for those which are most common. Ideally aim to eat about 1lb (400-500g) of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Include nuts, seeds, oatmeal, brown rice and wholegrains. Follow a diet that contains a steady blood sugar level (small regular meals) and is relatively high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

Include garlic and onions. They contain quercetin which has been shown to inhibit an enzyme that aids in releasing inflammatory chemicals. Include 'green, chlorophyll, drinks'. A juice fast including lots of lemon juice for three days per month can help rid the body of toxins and mucous.

Avoid wheat bran, sugar, yeast and gas-producing foods such as beans, broccoli, cauliflower and cage. Do not have ice cream or iced drinks as they may shock the bronchial tubes into spasm.

Flax oil seeds or capsules are a good vegetative source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are necessary to produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. If using seeds, grind them or drink with plenty of water.

As a qualified nutritionist I strongly recommend adding a good supplement program to a good diet.

Nutrient Recommendations: A multi-vitamin / mineral complex with selenium and zinc will boost your immune system – in particular, vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants that protect your mucous membranes. B-complex is helpful (particularly vitamin B6) as it also supports the immune system and vitamin B5 helps beat stress. CoQ10 counters histamine. HCl (Hydrochloric acid – found in the stomach) and pancreatic supplements should be considered if you need help digesting protein. In one study, 80% of asthmatics were found to have low stomach acid (HCl). If this is not corrected, the shortage may make allergies worse. Magnesium is a mineral that has also had good results and in several scientific studies Ginkgo biloba has been found beneficial. Pau D-arco reduces inflammation and acts as a natural antibiotic.

As with all complementary therapies, if you are being treating for a particular condition by your medically qualified practitioner, do not make any changes to your treatment without his or her approval.